Sunday, July 26, 2015

Rethinking the Artist Bio

The best way to write a convincing online bio is to craft it in a concise manner, with a view towards who is reading about you.

Nikki Loney writing in The Full Voice lays down the hard truth:
A poorly written teaching bio can actually deter people from wanting to study with you.
She continues:
Shorter bios using “I”, “me” and “my” rather than stuffy third-person seem to be the trend now. This works better for online bios that tend to be more conversational and have a limited number of characters. Try including a “fun fact” about you to grab the reader’s attention. Remember, most people will never read your full bio if it is too long. There is a fine line here between divulging too much information and establishing trust by providing enough information for people to feel they know you. 

In other words, you're going to be better off formulating a shorter statement that parents, students, presenters, or listeners can identify with, and which will resonate with them.

Nikki in her workshops mentions David Story's About Me page as one of the most successful teaching bios ever written. Here's his first paragraph:
At 14, I began my piano studies, an enthusiastic, motivated, but somewhat unfocused teenager. Luckily, my determination at the piano overcame my inefficient practice habits. 
David, in his confessional approach, spins his unfocused teenage years into something that parents and students can universally identify with, thus turning a weakness into a marketable strength.

The reader is everything. It might be useful to have a separate bio that lays out a fuller picture of your performance career (see picture above) geared to recital audiences, as well as a separate online bio or About Me page that lays out what you're about, but in a more concise manner, and with relevant links so readers can take next steps, either to check out your content, contact you, or sign up for your services.

Disagree? Take a look at About Me pages from successful online personalities such as Penelope Trunk, Merlin Mann, Myke Hurley, David Seah, and Ryder Carroll. The upfront honesty and engagement is what hooks people online. As musicians we are no different.

1 comment:

  1. I was so inspired by this post and spent a few weeks re-writing my own bio. I love the final result. The problem? Concert presenters either love it or hate it. The hate-it ones really want a less off-the-cuff bio. I have been asked many times in the last six months if I couldn't please send something "a bit more formal to fit in with the other performers' bios". *Sigh*